Flight Patterns Essay

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Sherman Alexie’s Flight Patterns tries to tackle a challenging subject. It probes the underbelly of modern life, sifting through the cloudy American mind that’s full of seemingly useless information, in search of what’s truly important in life. This happens through the stories two main scenes. The first depicts William’s relationship with his daughter and wife, and conflicts in life. The second engages William in a taxi-cab conversation that shuffles his priorities and forces him to confront his problem. This pushes him to his tipping point, and when the ride is over, he becomes uneasy and cares only to hear his family’s voice, not about his job, or the fears that had previously been driving forces. Alexie is trying to show that …show more content…

Alexie’s trying to show us that hiding your problems isn’t the correct way to deal with them, and in William’s case, his family needs him more than William needs his job. What exactly is his job? He works at a think tank selling theoretical ideas to companies. This job plagues William with ambivalence. Though he’s able to think creatively and enjoy certain freedoms that other jobs don’t offer, it restricts the time he has with his family by requires him to fly all over the country. And as he notes that his wife’s always waiting for William to call while on the road, his taxi arrives and William embarks on the second part of the story. The way I read the taxi cab portion made me think of it as a quasi mock confession booth, with the driver, Fekadu, serving as the priest. This isn’t very clear at the beginning of the ride when William’s trying to meditate and stuff his problems away into his imaginary deposit box. But once Fekadu gets the conversation rolling, the outpour of emotion starts, marking an important shift from William hiding problems to trying to face them. After explaining the feelings that come with leaving his family, causing him sometimes to feel as if he’ll explode without their love, he has an insight that plays into the religious aspect of the taxicab. “There is emotional safety in anonymity, he thought” (page 432). And while I’m not Catholic, I’ve noticed in movies

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